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2ND GRADE

Tracie Garfinkle
1st/2nd Grade 
Tracie Garfinkle

Hi! I’m Tracie Garfinkle and I have loved being a teacher for more than 20 years. I originally went to CSUN to be a school psychologist, but I realized that what I really loved about working with children was forming a learning community with them. To watch them learn and grow with one another is such a privilege, and to encourage their curiosity and development is a responsibility I cherish. I love being with my family, playing with our dogs, learning new crafts, and roasting coffee for our family and friends! My husband, two grown children, and I recently moved back to Southern California, to the same school district where my kids grew up and I taught for 20 years. Our family followed a job opportunity for my husband to Washington, but we all missed the Simi Valley community and, when we moved back and I started teaching first grade at Sycamore, it felt like coming home. I love Sycamore's great staff and vibrant learning community! It's good to be home!

 

 

Brenda Alban
2nd Grade 
Brenda Alban

My name is Brenda Alban. I attended college at Cal Poly Pomona and CSUN, earning my General and Special Education credentials, I began teaching in LA, then chose to work in the Simi Valley schools to be closer to home. Sycamore has been my school home for a long time.  I began teaching in Simi Valley in 1989 as a Special Educator. For ten years I taught in Special Day classes, and also as an Inclusion Specialist in the district. I’ve taught first and second grade for many years.
My husband David and I have three children. Brianna is a Physical Therapist. She and her husband have a baby girl, Madelyn. Her twin brother, Bradley, is a Professor at Mars Hills College, teaching Kinesiology and Exercise Physiology in NC. He and his wife also have a baby boy, Jack. Kelsey, our youngest, teaches 5th grade at Park View and has taught Kindergarten and 3rd grade. David and I love to travel, anywhere our car takes us, especially Tennessee to see our new grandson, Jack! I enjoy walking, hiking, cooking and reading, and having family dinners. I love watching my students bring an excitement for learning to school each day

 

Megan Suzuki
1st/2nd Grade Special Day Class
Megan Suzuki
 

I am Megan Suzuki, and I am a special education teacher here at Sycamore.  I earned both my Bachelors Degree in Child Development and my Education Specialist Credential from California State University, Northridge.  I have been teaching in the Simi Valley Unified School District since 2002.  I worked as an inclusion specialist for my first four years in the district and had the chance to work at several of our district's schools, including Sycamore.  I enjoyed working with the teachers and students at Sycamore, and when the opportunity arose to take over one of the special education classroom here, I jumped at the chance!  Both of my daughters attended Sycamore throughout their elementary school years, and I loved having them on campus with me.
I have worked with children in a variety of settings for all of my adult life.  In addition to being an elementary special education teacher, I've also worked as a preschool teacher and early intervention teacher.   My favorite parts of teaching are getting to know my students, watching them learn to do something for the first time by themselves, and seeing students' pride and excitement in learning.